Saturday, September 21, 2013

"There is no fairy tale ending"

Broken Ever After

“Broken Ever After” by Natalie Graham

Review by Wendy Dawn

“In Summation”:
     Olivia Stevens is a six-former (just after high school, seventh school year or second year of sixth form about to take her finals and leave for University) and she has it bad. She has had a massive crush on Mr. Jamie Matthews her Math teacher for the past six years.
     18-year-old Olivia keeps her abnormal childhood a deep buried secret. Secrets that come back to haunt the woman she is becoming. Can history be repeating itself?
No boy ever compared to the 26-year-old teacher in her eyes. Jamie Matthews is perfection personified to Olivia for years. However, Jamie has some secrets of his own. Will Olivia like what she sees once she learns them?
     Can two people with so many secrets carry on a secret relationship until graduation? What happens after graduation? Who is threatening Olivia, is it someone from her past or her present?
     Her family insists on personal protection, security detail for her. An attraction to her guard explodes, giving Olivia yet another secret to keep. Confused and scared who can she trust? Can she trust her current lover or her former teacher and lover?
     Is there such a thing as a happy ever after for this broken girl?

“The Reviews are in”:

     Set in England, brush up on your British slang and customs, a delightful story of a young girl trying to overcome a sexually abusive childhood. Please be aware some of the descriptions may disturb readers and make you uncomfortable but it flows with the characters story. Being so open about her past in the later part of the book showed true character development and well done research.
     Olivia is an interesting character. She is a mix of sweet and innocent with dash of cynical worldly wisdom deep down. As a survivor, Olivia's courage and desire to be normal, is inspiring. Even having an inappropriate crush on her teacher is sweet and a somewhat normal thing in her world.

     I tried to keep my cool but I could feel the heat spreading over my cheeks and between my legs; he had that effect on me. My heart rate increased whenever I looked at him; I could feel my breathing becoming shallow. I sent a silent prayer to whoever was listening that he didn’t notice. Or maybe that he finally would notice and say something, tell me I wasn’t insane for my stupid crush, tell me that it was exactly what he was feeling too. ~Olivia in the hall talking to Mr. Matthews 

     Her easy banter and casual conversations with Mr. Matthews lets you know right away that she is comfortable with him and feels safe. Even though he is young, he is still an authority figure in her life. You can pick apart the psychological aspect of her crushing on an older male authority figure due to her abuse, but the fact was Jamie Matthews was a constant in her life. He was unattainable and trustworthy.
     Even Olivia and Mr. Matthews’s easy banter had limits. This is especially true when they are in the hallways of school where other students and teachers could hear.

      “We’ll see how much of an, ‘arse’ I am in detention tomorrow after school.” ~Mr. Matthews to Olivia

      Detention is the final temptation of them being alone together. Her desires and his come to a head. Their first romantic physical encounter is tender and all the pent up frustration comes to a head. The absolute best part is that Olivia is the voice of reason and keeps the two from going too far.

     He broke out of our kiss to trail kisses across my cheek to my ear, sucking the lobe between his lips; his teeth grazed over the sensitive flesh. “You don’t know how long I’ve waited to do that,” he whispered breathlessly to me, his voice sounding coarse and laboured. ~Olivia and Jamie’s first kiss

     The thrill of taboo relationship and stolen kisses keeps this story exciting. Communication thru texts was genius; it was a very modern way to express themselves much like love letters would have been passed in textbooks in previous generations.
      They plan to be together after prom for the weekend, since Jamie Matthews will no longer be her teacher. Until an ex-boyfriend pushes too far, the would be lovers are thrown together in ways they had not expected. Feelings grow deeper for both of them.

     “You told me that there are never happy ever afters in life, but you’re mine, Olivia. You’re my happy ever after. I promise I can give you yours. I want to be yours.” I felt my heart swell and the butterflies soaring in my stomach again upon hearing his words to me. ~Jamie to Olivia after final exams and prom (he technically is no longer her teacher)

     Olivia's choice to decide who and when she lost her virginity was courageous. After being a victim of sexual abuse and dealing with her abusers aftermath (no spoilers). She took charge of her body and sexuality. It gives hope for victims, to know this is possible even if this is a fictional character.
Many things happen to these lovers through out this novel. Challenges have to be faced and overcome. There are greedy and devious characters lurking trying to interfere in Olivia's life. Ultimately, Olivia has to be the one to decide where her happy ever after lies.

      On a personal note, I hope Ms. Graham writes a follow up to this novel. I would love to see where Olivia and Jamie are 5 years down the road.

The Ratings*:

Hero: 3
Heroine: 4
Story/Plot/HEA: 4

*The rating system is based on 1-5, 5 being the best and 1 the worst.
Hero - The main male character of the story. Heroine - The main female character of the story. Story/Plot/HEA (Happy Ever After) - The over all story line and culmination of the main plot or theme.

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